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Ratanhia

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  • Botanical: Krameria lappacea
  • Family: Polygalaceae
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Ratanhia

Botanical

Krameria lappacea

Family

Polygalaceae

Known as

Para rhatany, Peruvian rhatany, Ratanhia, Rote Ratanhia, Payta Ratanhia

Old Use

medical

Parts Used

roots

Medicinal

bleeding, bruises, diarrhea, eye inflammation, gingivitis, menstrual cramps, throat inflammation, urination, gynecological issues, throat infections

Heart & Circulation

bleeding, hemostatic

Hormone & Sexual Organs

menstrual problems, uterine prolapse

Infection & Inflammation

conjunctivitis, eye inflammation, gingivitis, gum bleeding, skin inflammation

Stomach & Intestinal

diarrhea, digestion

Skin & Hair

abscess, dermatitis

Properties

antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, vasoconstrictive

Description

It is a low shrub with large red flowers. The root, as found in commerce, consists of long, cylindrical pieces, varying in thickness from 1/4 to 1/2 inch or more (long Rhatany), or a short, thick portion, knotted, and as large as a man's fist (short, or stumpy Rhatany).

The bark of the root is thin, readily separable, rough and scaly; of a dark, reddish-brown colour outside, and bright brownish-red within. It breaks with a somewhat fibrous fracture, is tough and difficult to powder, and has a strong, purely astringent taste, tingeing the saliva red when chewed. The central woody portion is very hard and almost tasteless. Neither bark nor wood has any marked odour. As the virtues of Rhatany reside in the bark, the smaller pieces are preferable.

Properties & Uses

An active as tringent, and slightly tonic. It has beenfound useful for internal administration in chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, menorrhagia, incontinence of urine, haematuria, and passive haemorrhage from the bowels. In the form of an infusion it has been used locally in fissure of the anus, prolapsus ani, and leucorrhoea; as a gargle in relaxed, sore throat; and as an astringent wash for the mucous membrane of the eyes, nose, gums, etc.

The powder is also used as a dentifrice when mixed with equal parts of orris rhizome and charcoal, or with prepared chalk and myrrh.

Cautions

none known

Distribution

It is growing on dry, sandy places on mountain-slopes, 3,000 to 8,000 feet above sea-level in several provinces of Peru, especially near the city of Huanuco.

Constituents

The essential constituent is a peculiar tannic acid, known as Rhataniatannic acid or Krameria tannic acid, closely allied to catechu-tannic acid. By the action of dilute acid it is decomposed into a crystallizable sugar, and Rhatania-red. No gallic acid is present. Rhatanin is a homologue of tyrosine, and is identical with angelin, geoffrayin, and andirin. It appears to contain also lignin, and small quantities of gum starch, saccharine matter, and a peculiar acid, krameric acid. The mineral acids and most of the metallic salts throw down precipitates with the infusion, decoction and tincture of Rhatany, and are incompatible in prescription.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.